In the world of restaurant design, lighting is truly a universe unto itself, both in its ability to create ambience and in the sheer number and pace of game-changing design and technical innovations. It’s one product category in particular in which even the most skilled architects and designers routinely call on specially trained experts for help. A designer with specific expertise in lighting brings deep knowledge of all of the options and systems available to projects — options that go well beyond fixture style and performance basics to include holistic, artistic, integrated, smart lighting design that makes your restaurant, your food and your customers truly shine.

A case in point: Kyle Connaughton, chef-owner of Single Thread in Healdsburg, Calif., turned to a designer with expertise in theater and museum lighting to create a technologically sophisticated lighting system for his James Beard Foundation Restaurant Design Award-winning restaurant. Hardwired into an atomic clock, the system knows what time sunset is every day and begins its program accordingly.

“The lighting changes seven times throughout the dinner service. As some lights go down, others go up very slowly to highlight different features of the dining room,” Connaughton says. “Toward the end of the night, the lights raise slightly to give a little more energy. The technology ensures that it’s subtle and seamless and lets us focus on providing great hospitality.”

At Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Dallas, designers from The Johnson Studio spent a lot of time and effort to achieve the type of low, glowing lighting that ultimately helped land the restaurant on Zagat’s list of sexiest restaurants in the U.S. That included employing an array of ceiling and wall lighting, designing signature wow-factor chandeliers, and working with a manufacturer to get just the level of dimmability that the team was after.

“We always do our own lighting because it’s such an important part of the design,” notes Anita Summers, partner at the Atlanta-based design firm. “It really does shape what you see, so we’re very aware of that and try to integrate the lighting and use it as a design element. At this restaurant in particular, we worked really hard on the lighting because we wanted a low level of glowing light. We wanted it to be dark and sexy. With new LED technology, we’re getting good color and glow, but to get it to dim down low, we worked closely with the manufacturer to make sure that we could get the soft glow we were looking for.”

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Suspended Geometry

Geometria Sospesa Sei is the latest addition to Gaspare Asaro’s studio-built collection. Translated in English to “suspended geometry,” this large, elongated piece fixtures six (“sei” in Italian) brass and glass saucers of different diameters staggered at different heights. The main frame has a zigzag pattern, staying true to the concept of shapes and geometry. The standard model comes in a lacquered brass finish and with textured/frosted glass shades. It measures 80 inches long, 35 inches wide and 13½ inches high. The fixture may also be customized to any size, finish and composition.

Gaspare Asaro Studio

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Elegant Brompton Pendant

Original BTC’s Brompton pendant combines simplicity with elegance. The smooth anthracite glass shade has a classical cylindrical shape, which is hand blown in the company’s glass factory in England. Available in three sizes, the Brompton has a weathered brass ceiling rose and attractive chrome detailing on the cord grip. Pair it with Original BTC’s squirrel cage lightbulb to create an enhancing and illuminating glow.

Original BTC

jesco madison

Madison Lighting Family

A four-model family of three-layer fused white or black cased-glass ceiling pendants and wall sconces, the Madison collection makes a bold statement. Diffused light radiates through transparent seams around each glass diffuser, creating a secondary design element of adjoining glass sections. JESCO’s proprietary AC LEDs power each model, providing simple installations, ready dimming and substantial energy savings.

JESCO Lighting Group

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Contemporary Outdoor Lighting

LumiSTIK columns combine contemporary aesthetics and LED functionality to create a unique, space-enhancing outdoor lighting solution. The product’s clean, extruded aluminum base and high-impact acrylic diffuser provide an architectural aesthetic that complements any outdoor environment. The product is available in three standard acrylic lengths: 24, 48 and 72 inches, with additional lengths available upon request. Elegant and sleek, they look as good during the daytime as after sunset.

Luminis Lighting

sonneman infinity

Organically Shaped Luminaire

The Infinity LED Pendant with downlight from SONNEMAN – A Way of Light features a flowing infinity curve that sweeps the edge of this sensually sculptured, die-cast luminaire, reflecting its luminous radiance off the surfaces above. It is also available without a directional downlight. The Infiniti collection includes wall sconces in satin white or dove gray finishes.

SONNEMAN — A Way of Light

oldegoodthings vintagehalophanes lighting

Vintage Halophane Pendants

Vintage halophanes were constructed ergonomically with the use of the prismatic globe structure. Parallel and cross-cut prisms refract and reflect the most amount of light and reduce the head-on wash of light that comes with most overhead lighting. The vintage prismatic pendants are salvaged from amphitheaters, factories, naval yards and other industrial buildings. Available in 14- to 21-inch sizes.

Olde Good Things

innermost beads

Beads of Light

Beads pendant lights are statement pieces by designer Winnie Lui for Innermost. Available in two designs/shapes, Penta and Octo, they bring together the best detailing and finishing from Lui’s jewelry craft with state-of-the-art lighting design, engineering and technology. The results are striking forms that provide both direct and ambient lighting and create an array of infinite reflections when lit. The smaller Penta is equal in all dimensions and is suited to narrower spaces. The wider Octo is perfect for large spaces and where maximum impact is desired.


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Io Art Glass Chandelier

Derek Marshall has added the Io Chandelier to its line of sculptural lighting. Handmade in the company’s New Hampshire studios, the chandeliers can be assembled in various sizes and combinations using any of Derek Marshall’s artistic glass shades. Double-pendant fixtures range from 18 to 20 inches. Armatures can be finished in oiled bronze, chrome, satin chrome or satin brass. Lighting may be incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent or LED bulbs.

Derek Marshall

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Nostalgic, Functional Sconce

The nostalgic narrative captured in Juniper Design Studio’s original M Lamp has been recaptured in the Wally Sconce. Designed by David Irwin, the sconce adapts the M Lamp’s modern interpretation of 19th-century miner lamps and joins it with the requirements of a modern and functional wall fixture. Its illuminated dual lamp head operates as a projector of both ambient and indicator light. A remote switch plate alters the light’s color, changing the diffused hue from white to amber. Wally can be used as a playful Do Not Disturb sign, a signal or simply an energetic light source. Standard high-contrast decals can expand its use and can be customized for a variety of applications. The Wally is made of powder-coated aluminum and is available in matte black, glossy white or custom colors.


hubbardtonforge otto sphere low voltage mini pendant

Low-Voltage Mini Pendant

Bold and brassy, this mini pendant makes an impact. By adjusting the cables, the light element can be positioned horizontally or at an angle. The inner diffuser is stainless steel mesh and glass. The sphere has a diameter of 11 inches with a width at the diffuser ends of 16.1 inches. Overall hang height can be set at 20 to 70 inches. The weight is 6 pounds. It is available as a canopy hung or rail/track version.

Hubbardton Forge

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